Don't Opt Into the Benefits Abyss Alone...

It’s that time of year again. You know, when you must pull out your crystal ball and make your best prediction on which financial benefits you should opt into at work for the next year. It can be a tricky situation if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can opt to defer too much into your retirement plan and get yourself into trouble if you don’t have enough money left to cover your expenses. You also can opt to defer too little and miss out on company match opportunities and tax deferred growth. Whatever you decide, my best advice (speaking from experience)…Don’t go at it alone!!

Logging into your employee benefits site isn’t typically a memorable event. But the first time I tried to enroll in a company 401(k) is still fresh in my mind. I was 22 and working at IBM as my first job out of college. I had just logged into NetBenefits after receiving emails telling me it was time to elect my 401(k) contribution amounts. I finally found the page I was looking for and quickly realized I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Pre-tax? Roth? Post-tax non-Roth? Percentages? Fixed dollar amounts? It was all Greek to me…

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Danielle FinnertyComment
The Great Mommy Balancing Act

What is that awful sound!??

It’s my first realization at 5:30am when my alarm starts going off. Throwing my arms over my face as to hide or change the fact that it’s time to start my day. My senses start to return to me, but I realize that I am being weighed down by something and I can’t reach my alarm clock. As I look down I realize that the weight is my 2-year-old son who never misses an opportunity to sneak into bed with mommy and daddy. As I peel him off I know I have exactly 30 minutes to shower before my second born wakes up. While I am brushing my teeth, I hear the baby begin to wake up and I run in to start the changing-feeding-lunch packing-dog walking mornings my husband and I have become accustomed to. At 7:00am we are out the door and on our way to drop the kids off with my parents for the day.

By time I reach work I feel as though I’ve already had a full day of responsibilities, yet the day isn’t even half over. How do any of us manage this on a day to day basis? The truth is…. Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes things just don’t go the way I have it all planned in my head. But it’s okay!

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Samantha LogueComment
Life's Balancing Act...Part One - Marianna's Take

I have been reminded many times that I planned to write a post about “life’s balancing act” and share a few steps that helped me achieve my goals and find success in life. As you can judge from this first sentence, I have not perfected this act myself, but I did learn a few things along the way.

For the past 25 years or so, I have been trying to do it all: be a nurturing and involved role model type mother, a supportive wife, a successful and impactful financial planner and business owner, a caring daughter, an involved friend and etc., etc., etc..

What is really a work-life balance? According to Wikipedia definition: “Work–life balance is the term used to describe the balance that an individual needs between the times allocated for work and other aspects of life.” The word BALANCE in itself is kind of interesting: balance means different things to different people. Secondly, does anyone ever feel completely balanced?

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We call it ‘The Balance Blog’ for short.

Life’s a Great Balancing Act. You can say that again!

As women, in particular, we take on a mountain of responsibility – caring for our children, our spouses, our aging parents, our home, while building a career, maintaining wellness, and chasing dreams. Unfortunately, that last part is usually last on the priority list. (Speaking from experience!) Why do we do that to ourselves? Our dreams are just as important as everyone else’s. Perhaps it’s the pressure of perfection we place on ourselves, to be the best version of ourselves, that we can be. Perhaps mirroring our mothers, our mentors, or the images we see in society. Perhaps it’s that we just want to put everyone else first, because chasing our own dreams means actually having to do it and that can be overwhelming, with everything else on our proverbial plate.

What if we could really do it all? Balance the needs of our family with our own, have a career, be healthy and happy, and be financially sound? Absolutely, YES! It can be done, with a few tweaks, of course.

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